Dr. John Gratto, the Superintendent of the Sag Harbor Union Free School District since 2008, has announced his intention to retire at the end of the summer. His last day on the job will be August 17.
He described his retirement as a quality of life decision, since many members of his family have moved to the South recently.
Dr. Gratto will join the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University — known most commonly as Virginia Tech — and teach education and leadership there. His son is currently a student at that school.
“I really like it here and I leave with a heavy heart,” he said. “But it’s a quality of life move in that I can be closer to my family and I’ve been an adjunct professor at the University of Albany and Stony Brook University for many years and I enjoy teaching and feel like it’s significant work to help teachers become principals and principals become superintendents.
The announcement came hours after he had taken his oath of office for next year as a part of the Sag Harbor Board of Education’s annual organizational meeting on Monday evening. The Board now has to appoint an interim superintendent who will serve until a permanent replacement can be found.
Sag Harbor Board of Education member Walter Wilcoxen also resigned on Monday, just months after he won reelection to his third term on the board.
Wilcoxen has not yet responded to multiple requests for comment on his resignation.
Wilcoxen’s resignation appeared to be sudden. At the end of the board’s private executive session Monday, Wilcoxen was seen standing and speaking to his fellow board members. He then walked out of the Pierson Middle/High School library — where meetings are held — and asked to speak with District Clerk Mary Adamczyk. He did not return to the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, Adamczyk was asked to read a handwritten note from Wilcoxen. She removed a single sheet of paper from a folder on her desk that read, “As of the time you receive this memo, I hereby decline to take my seat on the Sag Harbor school board.”
It was signed: “With my regrets, Walter Wilcoxen.”
School Superintendent Dr. John Gratto, second from right above, at Monday evening’s Sag Harbor School Board meeting.